Nicholas Copernicus' landmark work, De revolutionibus, might never have been published had it not been for Georg Joachim Rheticus. In the sixteenth century, Nicholas Copernicus proposed the theory that the sun, not the earth, is the center of the universe. Although he had begun a manuscript to explain his theory, he had not completed it. Rheticus, a mathematics teacher at Wittenberg who wanted to learn more about this new theory, traveled to Poland to visit Copernicus.
During his stay with Copernicus, Rheticus wrote and published a preliminary announcement of Copernicus' theory and titled it Narratio Prima, or "First Account of the Book on Revolutions by the very learned and most excellent mathematician Nicholas Copernicus." This book, published in 1540, is the first appearance of Copernican astronomy in print. It inspired Copernicus to complete the manuscript he had begun thirty years earlier, and to finally publish his master work in 1543.
Linda Hall Library now holds first editions of both Copernicus' book and the much rarer Narratio Prima by Rheticus.